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Parliament's foreign affairs committee advises caution over biometrics in the Schengen Information System
31.7.17
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The European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs has issued two opinions on proposed new rules for the Schengen Information System, dealing with the use of the system for border checks and the the "return of illegally-staying third country nationals", including a proposal for a "strict analysis" to be carried out before registering biometric data in the system. Specific safeguards for children are also proposed, along with a suggestion for a recital that would warn against Member States using coercion to obtain individuals' fingerprints.

The opinions are intended to infom the work of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), whose eventual position on the Comimssion's proposal will, if approved by MEPs, serve as the Parliament's position in negotiations with the Council.

See: OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of border checks (approved 27 July 2017, pdf):

"Highly sensitive biometric data will be collected. Given their sensitivity, their collection and use should be subject to a strict analysis before deciding to register them in the SIS. Biometric identifiers should be introduced and searched only under specific conditions meetingthe proportionality requirement of the data protection legal framework."

"In cases concerning children, the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration when applying this Regulation. When data pertaining to a child are inserted in SIS, they should only be used for purposes relating to the prevention, detection and investigation of missing children cases and for the protection of the child’s best interests, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child."

"All measures taken in relation to the SIS should comply with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Union. Member States should apply guidelines, to be established and monitored jointly by the European Union Agency for Asylum and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, for a common practice with regard to taking fingerprints and facial images of irregular third-country nationals, building upon the checklist prepared by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. At all times Member States should respect the dignity and physical integrity of the minor during the fingerprinting procedure and when capturing a facial image. Member States should not use coercion to compel the taking of fingerprints of minors."

And: OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the use of the Schengen Information System for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals (approved 27 July 2017, pdf)

Further information: European Parliament legislative dossiers: Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, Use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) for the return of illegally staying third country nationals, Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of border checks

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